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Jack Wood: the life of a Senate page

Jack Wood, senior, lived at the U.S. Capitol grounds during part of his junior year with his fellow page friends who came from all across the United States. (Photo submitted by Jack Wood)

An alarm goes off at 5 a.m. in a dark room, and as the rest of the city is asleep, a hand swings out from under a few blankets and slams down to make the annoying sound stop. Jack Wood, with exhaustion, rises from his bed in his dorm room in the heart of Washington, D.C. on the grounds of the Capitol; for about six months, Jack Wood lived roughly 30 minutes away from his real home in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

“The days in the program were super similar to the ones of this pandemic,” Wood, currently a senior, said before continuing, “Besides on a few occasions, my days in the Senate Page program consisted of repeated activities.” 

As a Senate page, Wood arrived at the Capitol for breakfast at 5:30 a.m. or 6 a.m. His days would sometimes go on as late as 2 a.m. the following morning. He participated in one of the hardest jobs a high school student could get themselves into. The Senate accepted him, along with 28 other pages from all across the country, to work and serve within Congress.

Many nights were filled with stress. Sweat dripped from his body while doing the numerous daily tasks, including tightening up his room for inspection in the morning, traveling in the underground subway systems connected to the Senate, or delivering legislation throughout the Capitol building.

“The page program was interesting but also the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. I encountered stress and exhaustion many days due to the copious amounts of work and chores, but I always remembered how important my spot was and that I was experiencing one of the best opportunities a high school student could have,” Wood said.

Often, laughter was heard from inside Wood’s dorm before curfew was in effect. Despite the workload, the pages developed strong friendships living together. When a hall monitor would give them a ten-minute warning, the other high school boys quickly burst through the door and scurried to their rooms to prepare for the next day. Wood spent his few moments of relaxation with those friends he made during the program.

“If it weren’t for some of the relationships I made during page school, then I’m not sure I would have made it the entire time without going crazy. While Gonzaga prepared me academically for the workload, nothing prepared me for the massive amount of draining activities I had to do. The friends I made helped me stay positive and continue enjoying the experience fully,” Wood said smiling.

Jack Wood, senior, smiles with his friends and fellow pages Wade Wahlig and Peyton Nashe. (Photo submitted by Jack Wood)

While most days consisted of a similar schedule, Wood had a once-in-a-lifetime experience because, during his time as a page, he participated in Trump’s first impeachment trial. He even said that he made history during it.

“I ended up being the first U.S. Senate page in history to serve a senator on the center floor with a glass of milk during an impeachment trial,” Wood added while laughing.

“Even though many days were labor-filled and intense, it still helped me in some positive ways. I have many great memories, like talking to Senator Kane, a Jesuit high school alumni, about Gonzaga, exploring the city with my friends, and once again, serving milk to senator Joe Manchin. This experience created my desire to go into politics when I’m older, and ever since the page program, my heart has been set on it,” Wood said.

Wood is very open about his time as a page, and he describes his tenure as one similar to being in this pandemic. He finds a parallel between his separation from his community and Gonzaga while in the page program to the situation our nation is in right now while being quarantined. While both of those time periods for Wood were ones of personal growth, ultimately, he learned how much his time on Eye Street meant to him and how much he’s going to cherish his few months left at Gonzaga.

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